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Capsule Review

All In: The Education of General David Petraeus

In This Review

All In: The Education of General David Petraeus
All In: The Education of General David Petraeus
By Paula Broadwell, Vernon Loeb
The Penguin Press HC, 2012, 352 pp. $29.95 Purchase

General David Petraeus is arguably the most consequential U.S. military leader since World War II. Broadwell's excellent biography portrays him as a modern exemplar of the soldier-scholar-statesman and one who has exerted a profound influence on the American military establishment. Granted extensive access to the general and his subordinates over a prolonged period, Broadwell has responded with an in-depth examination of Petraeus' remarkable rise in the U.S. Army and of his impact not only on the conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but also on a new generation of military officers, on whom he has left an indelible mark. Broadwell provides an inside look at Petraeus' interactions with his subordinates and his counterparts in countries allied with the United States. She also details his skillful dealings with the U.S. Congress and the White House, demonstrating the complex workings of contemporary civil-military relations and military diplomacy. All In avoids the pitfall of hagiography, giving voice to critics and dissenters, some of whom claim that Petraeus' career has been more self-serving than selfless, that the Iraq surge was not the decisive turning point his advocates claim it was, and that he has been too invested in counterinsurgency to be objective about its record in Afghanistan. Regardless, Petraeus emerges from Broadwell's book as an educated, committed, competitive, driven, and inspiring figure. 

 

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